Washington state EB-5 regional center works on retirement communities
An EB-5 regional center in Washington state has obtained millions in funding for a senior living community, according to the Northern Light.
The Whatcom Opportunity Regional Center (WORC) in Whatcom County, Washington, recently unveiled the new $7.8 million Correll Common in Ferndale, which is being funding by foreign investment in the EB-5 visa program.
The EB-5 visa program was started in 1990 to help attract foreign investment to American businesses. If a foreign national invests $1 million in a U.S. business and that investment results in the creation or preservation of 10 jobs then he or she becomes eligible for a U.S. green card.
EB-5 regional centers were established shortly after the original program was created to help direct and manage foreign investment. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), these centers can be “any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment.”
Some regional centers, like the WORC, are located in what are termed Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), which are defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average,” according to the USCIS website. What distinguishes TEAs from other parts of the country in terms of the EB-5 visa program is that only a $500,000 investment is needed from the foreign national.
Diane Kamionka, a spokeswoman for the WORC, told the news source that the EB-5 regional center decided to develop the senior center because not only is the area’s largest industry elder care services, but 30 percent of Whatcom County’s population is over 60.
The WORC is also partnering with the Northwest Economic Development Council’s Innovation Resource Center (IRC) to help young businesses gain access to funding.
Kamionka said that the county’s unique economy makes the work done by the IRC important.
“Generally speaking, in a county or an economy of this size, we don’t have any one industry that merits the overhead cost dedicated to having any one accelerator group but we have multiple industries that are important to the county so what we’ve done is create the IRC which will coordinate those services,” she told the news provider.
The WORC’s chair, John Wynstra, said the EB-5 regional center has plans to develop two more senior centers in the area in the next few years.
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